Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, in a stern warning to the alleged detractors of the ongoing farmers' protest against the three contentious agricultural laws, has declared that the farmers will not back down from the movement, even when they have been "humiliated and defamed".
His 'warning' on this day was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in particular.
"Modi-ji and Yogi-ji and all others must listen carefully, farmers will not go back from this movement, humiliated and defamed," said Yogendra Yadav on Friday at a farmers' rally in the Delhi-UP border.
Delhi Police issued lookout notice against farmer leaders
Notably, the Delhi Police had on Thursday issued lookout notices against farmer leaders and announced a probe into the "conspiracy" behind the Republic Day violence. The Ghaziabad administration had given an "ultimatum" to the protesters at UP Gate to vacate the site by midnight.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, however, yesterday told reporters at the UP gate in Ghazipur bordering Delhi that he would rather commit suicide than leave and end the protest against the farm laws, setting the stage for a confrontation with security personnel. Thousands of farmers from the BKU are camping at the protest site since November 28.
"I will commit suicide but won't end protest until the farm bills are repealed," Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of the BKU, had said.
Condemning the Uttar Pradesh government and police for the ultimatum, the farmer leader had said, "No violence has taken place at the Ghazipur border but still the UP government is resorting to policy of suppression. This is the face of the UP government."
The "verbal" communication from the Ghaziabad administration to BKU came after three farmers union withdrew their protest against the three central farm laws over the violence in Delhi on January 26 that left 394 security personnel injured and one protestor dead.
Meanwhile, widening its probe in connection with the violent turn of events during which protesters also stormed the iconic Red Fort and hoisted a Sikh religious flag, Delhi Police said the role and conduct of organisations and individuals based in India as well as those out of the country will be investigated, a move that comes after police chief S N Srivastava warned no culprit will be spared.
It further said a criminal case has been registered and is being investigated under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections of IPC dealing with sedition.
The Delhi Police claimed that there was a "pre-conceived" and "well coordinated" plan to break the agreement arrived at with farmer leaders to bring international embarrassment for the government on Republic Day.
The Crime Branch will probe the cases of violence at the Red Fort, ITO, Nangloi Crossing, and six other places during the farmers' tractor parade on Republic Day, an official said.
The police have so far registered 33 FIRs in connection with the violence, adding that lookout notices have been issued against 44 people, which include most of the farmer leaders.
The police asked the 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Balbeer Singh Rajewal whose names have been named in an FIR in connection with the violence, to submit their response within three days, explaining why legal action should not be taken against them as they did not follow the conditions set for the parade.
Several tractors and two-wheelers with the national flag took part in the 16-km-long rally which started from the stage at the Singhu protest site and went up to the beginning of the Kundli-Manesar Palwal highway.
Thousands of protesting farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor rally called by farmer unions to highlight their demand for repeal of the Centre's three farm laws.
Many of the protesters, driving tractors, reached the Red Fort and entered the monument. Some protesters even hoisted religious flags on its domes and the flagstaff at the ramparts, where the national flag is unfurled by the prime minister on Independence Day.
According to an FIR registered in connection with violence the Red Fort incident, two magazines with 20 live cartridges were snatched from two constables by protestors who also damaged vehicles and robbed anti-riot gears.
Security beefed at border points
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at all the protest sites -- Singhu and Tikri -- with senior police officials saying that such arrangements have been made as part of measures in view of the January 26 violence.
After the violence, the crowd at the Singhu and Tikri borders has visibly thinned amid heavy police deployment, even as farmer unions said it is because of protestors, who headed to Delhi for the January 26 march, returning home.
The Singhu border, one of the major protest sites that has been home to thousands of farmers for over two months now, was on Thursday noticeably less populated than its pre Republic day version, or even before that.
The number of tractors have reduced, so have the protestors, and the streets that were chock a block until last week, can now be walked through in no time.
Farmers said it was because the protestors who had arrived specifically to participate in the tractor parade on January 26 had returned home.
(With inputs from agencies)